FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Thursday that more vaccination centers will be opening shortly and that visitations at some long-term care facilities can resume.
During a Capitol press briefing, the governor said, “Beginning next week, we will have 291 vaccination sites open across Kentucky. There will be 51 regional sites, including six new ones.”
Other new sites include ten Kroger stores, a total of 25 Walmart locations, nine federally qualified health centers, 61 local health departments, and through the federal pharmacy program another 125 locations.
For more information on locations near you and to register, go to vaccine.ky.gov.
The governor said the long-term care facilities that are now open to visitors are those that are non-Medicaid certified. “At assisted-living personal care homes, ICF, IDDs, and independent living, indoor visitation will resume, for those who have been through the full vaccination process. Group activities and communal dining will also resume for those who have been fully vaccinated, and visitation among residents will resume for vaccinated residents.”
The state is awaiting guidance from federal officials before re-opening visitation at facilities with the highest level of care.
Adam Mather with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services says visits are limited to one person, or two from the same household. Visitors will also need to show a negative COVID test taken in the last 72 hours, or proof of vaccination.
There were 963 new cases of the coronavirus reported to state public health officials on Thursday. That is down from Wednesday’s 1,107, and marks the third day in a row of decreases. It raises Kentucky’s pandemic total to 392,729.
Jefferson County was the only one with more than 100 new cases, with 145. The rest of the top ten counties were Fayette 66, Laurel 41, Christian 35, Kenton 32, Boone 28, Montgomery 27, Bullitt 24, Campbell 23, and Warren 22.
There were 935 Kentuckians hospitalized with COVID-19 on Thursday. Of them, 260 were in the ICU and 130 on a ventilator, very similar to Wednesday’s figures.
The state’s positivity rate rose to 7.07%, based on a seven-day average, marking the first time in several days it topped seven percent. Beshear said the increase could be due to fewer people being tested due to this week’s weather.
The number of new deaths rose to 37, more than double Wednesday’s 18, and bringing the state’s total to 4,373.
The latest victims ranged in age from 40 to 101. Jefferson County had seven; there were three in Fayette and Marshall counties; Bullitt, Caldwell, and Spencer counties each had two; while Barren, Breckenridge, Casey, Christian, Floyd, Graves, Hardin, Henry, Hopkins, Kenton, Lee, Logan, McCreary, Monroe, Muhlenberg, Shelby, Todd and Warren counties had one apiece.
Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said this latest winter storm isn’t done yet.
“Precipitation has let up in most places, allowing our crews and contractors to make real progress on clearing roadways,” he said. “In Eastern Kentucky, work continues to clear fallen trees and power lines. We’re on the lookout for freezing drizzle today and overnight. That’s one of the most treacherous forms of winter weather. We urge the public to continue to limit travel and to be patient when they are on the roads.”
To help Kentucky families impacted by the storm, Secretary Gray has extended his official order that temporarily lifts some restrictions on commercial vehicles delivering aid to affected areas.
To see the full daily COVID-19 report for Kentucky, which includes such information as the red zone counties and red zone recommendations, testing locations, the weekly White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky, executive orders, vaccine distribution, and other information on the state’s pandemic response, go to kycovid19.ky.gov.
This was Beshear’s last scheduled live press briefing this week. His office is expected to issue daily numbers on the pandemic, throughout the weekend.